LEGALISE AFRICAN INDIGENOUS SPIRITUALITY

LEGALISE AFRICAN INDIGENOUS SPIRITUALITY

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CADISS started this petition to UK Government and

In a millennium where ‘Religious Tolerance’ is one of the most recognised principles of diversity and inclusion, it is beyond disheartening and goes against every democratic ideal that African Indigenous Spirituality and its Diasporic derivatives are still excluded from the corpus of World Faiths. We, the committee members of the Council of African & Diasporic Indigenous Spiritual Systems (CADISS), call on the UK Government to uphold the Equality Act of 2010, Section 10 Religion or belief and Article 9 of the Human Rights Act of 1998.

We raise this petition to the UK government to enact the necessary law for the legal recognition of African Indigenous Spirituality as a global interconnected system of faiths for continental and Diasporic Africans. Part of the law will incorporate acknowledgement and respect for its adherents, sacred days and observances, necessary to meeting the needs of the various African spiritualists residing in the UK.

CADISS recognises that the term African Indigenous Spirituality is an ideal umbrella term under which to codify its various expressions, from Santeria in Cuba to Orisha worship in Trinidad and Tobago to the Dagara knowledge system of Burkina Faso, as they all centre around 6 main and shared tenets;

1) A Supreme Being or source of Creation/Godhead.
2) A knowledge and affiliation with Natural Forces, e.g Orishas, Lwas, Abosom, Neteru, N’kisi, M’inkisi, Odinani
3) Working with Nature; Herbalism, healing methodologies using Nature-based elements
4) Understanding of and working across realms of existence; Physical & Spiritual.
5) Ancestors & Ancestorhood.
6) Prayer/Invocation forms such as Libations, Drumming, singing and Offering rituals

Our assertion is also further evidenced in scholastic work dating back decades; from the works of J Heinz- Muntu, to John Mbiti -  and Zora Neal Hurston –Ride My Horse and even within the UK, of Ancestral Voices (2011). Thus far, it is only UNESCO that has made significant strides in the recognition of African Spirituality in recognising for instance, the Oshogbo Grove in Nigeria as a protected, sacred site and the Odu Ifa of the Yourba as sacred scripture for practitioners of IFA.

It is the same IFA corpus that we find underlying and giving rise to Diasporic derivatives such as Candomble in Brazil, Vodou in Haiti and Santeria or Lucumi in Cuba, to name a few. So these systems of knowledge display a continuum, rather than being separate and completely different forms of faith.

Yet even in countries where these systems are legally recognised as official religions such as Benin, Brazil and Haiti, its adherents continue to face persecution from followers of other recognised religions such as Christianity and Islam, amongst others. These acts of persecution contravene Article 9 of the Human Rights Act of 1998. It becomes evident that better education is required about these systems to allay unfounded fears of it and promote better community cohesion, such that such persecutions stop as they constitute a hate crime.

This is not only a matter of faith; it is also a matter of the denial of human rights and access to modalities of wellbeing for its practitioners. This is also evidence of Afriphobia on an institutional level; the fear and rejection of all things African.

The negative recurring effects of the law are also evident even in the UK today, as reported by the BBC (2005- 2015) where ignorance about it is being used as a scapegoat to facilitate sexual and physical abuses in mainly Evangelical and charismatic African churches established in the UK in recent years.

We petition the UK Government to act promptly in line with the International Decade for People of African Descent, so that we will be given the right to fully manifest our beliefs with no fear of persecution or discrimination (Article 9, Human Rights Act 1998).
https://www.un.org/en/observances/decade-people-african-descent

‘Witchcraft’ abuses in the UK:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34475424

‘Witchcraft’ abuses video:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-29530936

‘Witchcraft’ abuses:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17006924

Kristy Bamu Killing:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17255470

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!